On Poetry

November 30, 2021

Why does it feel so snooty to admit that you love poetry?

Or, if not snooty, at least dated. Like, the nineteenth century has been over for a good long while now, and yet we’re still metaphorically wandering the moors in long skirts and then pouring tea and gazing wistfully out the window. 

(Nevermind that we do in fact wear a lot of long skirts and drink upsetting amounts of tea. That’s not the point!)

But we love poetry. Totally unironically. Sincerely. All the way down to our witchy twitchy toes. 

A good poem is like a good song. It burrows into your mind and then just hangs out there, haunting you. 

A good poem makes you see something familiar in a new way. Or can show you something about yourself that you’d never articulated before. Or can prove to you that you’re not alone – you’re not the only person to feel what you’re feeling, fear what you’re fearing. 

It can show you that there are other minds out there, shaped kind of like yours. And it does it in an instant.

If that’s not magic, what is?

December feels like poetry season to us. Often, it’s a pretty overwhelming month. There’s travel and hosting and holidays and holiday presents to buy and all the food to prepare and eat. And if you don’t celebrate any cultural or religious holidays in December, it can feel just as overwhelming, if not more so – it can feel like a personal bombardment that doesn’t let up.

With all that commotion and energy flying around, it can be hard to settle down into a novel. 

But there’s always a sliver of time you can steal for poetry.

For the December Carterhaugh Book Club meeting, we’ll be reading the wondrous Sally Rosen Kindred’s new book of poetry, Where the Wolf. It’s the perfect bit of magic for December – short but powerful poetry drenched in fairy tales.

Here’s a glimpse of a few of her poems from this collection – 

From “Girls, How Hungry” by Sally Rosen Kindred

“Once upon the bones
of our bare story, once
Once peeled back
to the flesh speckled candy-peach
as mine at six,
we hid behind 
a wall, we called
it Dinner, we did not know
it loved us
like a mother…

And from another of Sally’s poems, “The Grief Dress”

“Cinched tight by a belt’s hard braid,
its cotton shirtwaist pleats
parched like earth,
the brown dress made me a sparrow.
Then it made me a lost bride.
It made me the ghost
of my Boston mother, the one
who’d sat on a stack of field guides to learn guitar…”

This is the first time we’ve done a book of pure poetry for Book Club (though we covered Theodora Goss’s collection of poetry and short stories, Snow White Learns Witchcraft, a few months ago!) so it’ll be a bit of an experiment, but if you’re anything like us, it’ll be exactly what you need right now. Plus, Sally is a Carterhaugh student AND she’ll be joining us for the discussion! We’ll be able to ask her about everything from her inspirations to her writing style to the process she uses when she weaves fairy-tale language through her work. She’s so excited to talk with everyone, and we’re so excited to have her – she’s so insightful, kind, and an absolutely brilliant writer.

Our discussion happens on December 15th at 7PM ET. Be sure you’re a Patreon supporter at the Willows level or above to join us!

P.S. You might have seen that we’re also doing an event on December 21st – a Winter Solstice Extravaganza with the endlessly charming Dr. Steve Winick! Click here to grab your tickets now – it’s going to be the perfect way to embrace the enchantment of the holiday season!

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